How to Choose the Best Eye Drops for Dry Eyes

An estimated 16 million Americans suffer from dry eye disease. People with dry eyes can have blurry vision, sensitivity to light, eye grittiness, and burning sensations.

Do you suffer from dry eyes and looking to find some relief?

Having dry eyes can be very troublesome and inconvenient. Check out this guide on how to choose the best eye drops for dry eyes.

Determining Why Your Eyes Are Dry

Before you can pick the best eye drops for your eyes, you need to determine why they are dry.

Conditions that could make your eyes dry include:

  • Allergies
  • Dry eye disease
  • Pink eye

If your eyes are red and itchy along with being dry, it’s best to talk to an eye doctor to make sure you do not have an eye infection. You also need to note how long the redness has lasted and if you are currently suffering from allergies. You can talk to your doctor if you feel you just need more lubrication for your eyes as well.

There are basically three types of eye drops:

  • Anti-redness drops
  • Artificial tears
  • Allergy drops

You may also some herbal or homeopathic eye drops. There is not a lot of evidence out there about these drops and their effectiveness.

If your eyes are sore, you shouldn’t reach for the drops immediately. You need to determine the underlying cause of this soreness. If eyes are sore, it could be from being overused, strained, tired, or dry.

You may need to change your prescription if you wear glasses or contacts. If you have any matter or discharge in your eye with soreness, you need to see an eye doctor immediately to check for an eye infection. You will need antibiotic eye drops if you do have an eye infection.

Prescription and Non-Prescription Eye Drops

You can buy either over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops or get a prescription from your eye doctor for drops like compounding eye drops. OTC eye drops are usually effective for non-medical issues and are less expensive than prescription. You should still discuss your eyes and ask for recommendations.

Anti-Redness Drops

These drops will do as they say — get the red out of your eyes. You should not use these drops for more than a few days. This is because long-term use can irritate your eyes further and make them redder.

Your eyes could also get independent on these drops to remove redness. These drops are also not good if you have a dry eye condition.

Some of these drops have antihistamines to help remove allergy symptoms. You may just want to use allergy drops instead.

These drops have vasoconstrictor as the main ingredient. This substance helps shrink your eye’s blood vessels at the surface to make the redness disappear.

Your eyes could be red from general irritation, tiredness, or dryness. If they are red from allergies, these anti-redness drops may not be effective since they do not treat your allergy symptoms. 

Artificial Tears

Artificial tear eye drops mimic your eyes’ tears. Some drops also claim to heal your eyes and lessen tear evaporation. Some even contain a thickening agent to keep the solution on your eyes longer for lubrication.

Thes drops contain:

  • Electrolytes such as potassium and sodium to heal dryness
  • Lubricants to keep moist
  • Guar gum (in some of the more oily drops) 
  • Preservatives to keep away bacteria

You don’t have to buy eye drops with preservatives. These additives can irritate your eyes. It’s best to avoid eye drops with preservatives if you use eye drops more than 4 times a day.

Some people may have more irritation if they use preservative eye drops. Preservative eye drops may be cheaper, but some people also have allergies to these additives. People with severe dry eyes should also avoid eye drops with preservatives.

Preservative-free eye drops do not come in the usual eye drop bottle, and they may be more pricey than their counterparts. They are packaged in single-use vials. You will snap off the lid, insert drops, and throw out the container. 

If you don’t get any relief from the artificial tear drops, you can also try other products such as gel inserts and nonprescription gels. Please note that these products can cause blurred vision for a temporary period. This is why it’s best to use these products just before bedtime.

Allergy Drops

If you are suffering from dry, itchy, and red eyes, you may be suffering from allergies. Allergen irritants include pollen, mold, and pet dander to name few.

When your body has some sort of allergy, it will release histamines. These chemicals cause itchy eyes, redness, and a runny nose. The best way to remove these symptoms is with an antihistamine.

This substance will block your histamines from creating these symptoms. There are some allergy eye drops that also stop your body from making histamines and not just blocking them. These drops are called mast-cell stabilizers.

Eye Drops and Contacts

Choosing eye drops can be more tricky if you wear contacts. Not all types of eye drops work well with contacts. If you wear contacts, you can try rewetting drops that work with contacts.

Otherwise, you may have to remove your contacts to put in the drops. Your doctor may also recommend wearing your glasses while using eye drops for dry eye relief. Contact lenses wearers should try to avoid preservatives as well.

Get the Best Eye Drops For Dry Eyes

The best way to determine the best eye drops for dry eyes is to talk to your eye doctor first. You need to figure out the underlying cause to make sure you select the best type of eye drops to treat your condition. Otherwise, you will not get any relief.

If your eyes are super sensitive, you should try the preservative-free drops that come in single-use vials. If you wear contacts and don’t want to take them out, rewetting drops work best.

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